The volleyball team took two losses on the road this weekend, dropping a match 3-1 against Harvard Friday and 3-0 against Dartmouth Saturday. These defeats drop Brown (6-12, 1-6 Ivy) to last place in the Ivy League standings halfway through conference play.
Though Bruno came out strong against the Crimson (10-6, 5-2), claiming the opening set 23-25, Harvard rallied in the second set with a resounding 25-14 win and never looked back. Riding the momentum of a couple long point streaks, the Crimson took the third and fourth sets 25-20 and 25-21, respectively. Bruno captain and libero Melissa Cairo ’18 earned a personal best 19 digs in the loss.
Both Brown and Dartmouth (7-9, 3-4) entered Saturday’s match looking to bounce back from tough losses, but the Big Green ultimately took the victory in straight sets. Cairo again led the Bears in digs with 11 and recent Herald Athlete of the Week Courtney Palm ’19 executed a team-high 8 kills.
In the first set, after leading 2-1, Bruno struggled to stand its ground against the Big Green. Two five-point streaks pushed Dartmouth out of the Bears’ reach and between offensive violations, defensive miscommunications and dominant Dartmouth blocking, Brown was unable to score more than two points in a row.
“It’s really tough to play catch-up,” said Head Coach Diane Short. “It’s really hard because the other team can come at you more aggressively, where I think we came at them more afraid to make mistakes.”
Though Bruno entered the second set with more vigor, utilizing feinted attacks to scramble the Big Green’s defense, unforced errors and defensive disorganization continued to thwart the Bears. After an early five-point streak by Dartmouth, service between the teams changed regularly. But for every Brown point, Dartmouth scored two or three. The set finished 25-14.
Strong Bruno defense in the third set kept Dartmouth from taking an early lead and coordination between Brown setters and outside hitters helped the Bears penetrate Dartmouth’s blocking. Middle blocker Jacqueline Jacobs ’20 delivered several crucial blocks and kills to keep Brown going point-for-point with Dartmouth. Sabrina Stillwell ’19, Bruno’s stalwart right side hitter and outside hitter, also bolstered the Bears with her steady performance and six kills in the match.
When leading 20-19, Dartmouth caught a lucky break. Brown lost momentum after two unforced errors and the Big Green took full advantage, winning the set 25-19 and taking the match.
Looking forward to the second half of the Ivy League season, the team is hoping to bounce back. “We have the players, we’ve got some depth, we’ve just got to get it together,” Short said. “We’re looking forward to playing everyone again. Because we played them before, we know what we need to get better in those situations.”
This challenging weekend is, if anything, an opportunity to take away some lessons. “A good thing is that this team is pretty resilient,” Short said. “Even though we had a bad weekend, we’re going to start fresh this week and do some things to improve.”
Bruno’s will host Yale in its next match Friday at 7 p.m.